Talented sprinter-miler Cyborg made a welcomed return to the winner’s circle when he claimed the $100,000 Open Benchmark 83 race over 1200m on Sunday.
The three-time winner was off the scene for a long time after an unplaced run in July. He only made his comeback three weeks ago in a 1200m race for Class 3 gallopers, running fourth to Aramco.
Both gallopers met again as they rose in class in the BM83 race, with Cyborg pulling back 3.5kgs from his last-start nemesis.
Cyborg (Barend Vorster, on the inside) holds an edge over Aramco (Olivier Placais) to score in Race 7, picture Singapore Turf Club
That arguably proved to be the fine line between defeat and victory. Cyborg (Barend Vorster) swung into the home straight full of running despite a tough trip three wide while Aramco (Olivier Placais) was warming up to the task on the outside.
Cyborg hit the lead 300m out and was making a good fist of it until Aramco started to quicken up as Placais went for the stick in his customary vigorous style. At that point, the $10 favourite had the race shot to pieces, but Cyborg suddenly got going again when already headed.
The Argentinian-bred four-year-old showed plenty of ticker to come back and regain the advantage by a head from Aramco. Hip Hip Hooray (Glen Boss) lost no friends with a game effort in third place another length away.
The winning time was 1min 9.54secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
“After his second-last start, he sustained a hairline fracture in his leg. We let nature take its course, and it’s behind us now,” said winning trainer Ricardo Le Grange.
“It’s great for Mark and Emily (Yong of Tmen Stable) as they have been so patient with this horse. They have let me do what I felt was right for the horse.
“He ran good first-up but you always worry about the second-up run. Even though he was posted three wide, he attacked the line very well, got headed, but came back. He is a very smart four-year-old.
“Obviously, we will have to make sure there is no recurrence of his injury. We’ll have him x-rayed and then we’ll have a chat with the owners about the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge.”
Vorster is convinced the four-year-old series will be tackled with a lot less haste than at his failed three-year-old campaign.
“He drew a wide barrier which is never easy, but with the low weight (51.5kgs) we can afford to keep it simple,” said the South African jockey.
“I had to use him a little bit to quicken up, but he showed a lot of fight in the end. The 3YO series came too soon for him last year, but he’s a much stronger horse this year.”
A son of Orpen, Cyborg has now taken his record to four wins from seven starts for stakes earnings around the $175,000 mark for the Tmen Stable.